The Massachusetts State Police trooper injured in a crash on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Wednesday has died.
The accident was reported around noon in Charlton, Massachusetts. Interstate 90 was temporarily shut down in both directions so a medical helicopter could land on the highway, but has since reopened.
Killed in the crash was Trooper Thomas Clardy, 44, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who joined the state police in April of 2005. His colleagues described him as "a great man" who was well-liked and known for his professionalism and dedication. He leaves behind a wife and six children ranging in age from 4 to 17 years old.
"Today we pray for him. We pray for them," state police Col. Richard D. McKeon said. "The Massachusetts State Police are devastated for their loss. We'll never be able to fill the hole that has left in their lives from this day forward, but they will always be part of our state police family. We will forever hold them tight to our hearts, for the rest of our lives."
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Clardy's line of duty death.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones, fellow troopers and the entire law enforcement community during this very difficult time."
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.
Police, Fire Line the Streets for Fallen Trooper
State police said Clardy was working a special accident reduction shift aimed at preventing crashes when he pulled over a Chevrolet Tahoe in the breakdown lane of I-90 westbound for a traffic violation. He walked up to the vehicle, obtained information from the driver and got back into his Ford Explorer cruiser to begin processing the motor vehicle stop.
At that time, state police said a Nissan Maxima traveling westbound in the left lane at what witnesses said was a high rate of speed suddenly swerved to the right, crossing all three travel lanes, and struck Clardy's cruiser. The impact pushed the cruiser into the Chevrolet, knocking that vehicle onto the grassy side of the highway.
McKeon said responding troopers and emergency personnel found Clardy inside the cruiser with "traumatic injuries" and began administering first aid. He was transported by ambulance to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where he was pronounced dead.
Massachusetts State Police Trooper Killed in Crash
The driver of the Nissan - David Njuguna, 30, of Webster, was taken by medical helicopter to UMass Medical Center with serious injuries. McKeon said he will be issued a criminal summons for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stay within marked lanes. Police are also asking that his license be suspended.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. State police said additional charges could still be forthcoming.